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WHY HAS STRETCHING BECOME SO CONFUSING...

In the health and fitness industry many experts and evidence based coaches are constantly changing their mind about the importance of stretching and recent data has finally solidified a statement upon the benefits of stretching.


Not only the benefits but the when, why and how you should stretch and I am here to break it all down for you :)



Stretching in the past has always been seen or labelled as a thing you do as a warm up before exercise whether that be before your football match or pre gym session. Studies have shown that stretching out before a workout has no benefit to you and can sometimes result in more negative consequences than positive... (Shrier, Ian, 1999) While you wont be causing an injury by stretching before a game


it is not going to prevent injury as it was thought back in the day!!


During your exercise session whether that be in the gym or on the field playing a sport you are constantly shortening your muscles for performance. Through contractions to either run, jump, throw or lift some weights. When you are stretching you are lengthening your muscles so basically contradicting what you are about to do.


In simple terms you are doing the opposite process by stretching (lengthening joints) before exercise (shortening joints).




Pre Exercise Warm Up What To Do ?


The best warm up you can follow prior to your next exercise session is to imitate the movements you are about to perform but in a lower energy output.


For example this can be seen by football players that will set up a mini 5 a side court 30 minutes before their match as a means to move the ball around,



jog around and basically play a mini version of a full field match. Bodybuilders, powerlifters or many gym goers will know that to warm up to their max set they would start off with a lighter weight with higher repetitions before moving onto their heavier less repetition movements.


Next time you leave your house before your next run make sure you think about a simple flow that may imitate the course you are about to take. Be weary of what your body is about to do, the positions you are going to get into at hig


h force and spend 5-10 minutes rehearsing through rather than getting down and stretching out your hamstrings :p


So When Do You Stretch ?


Stretching does have it's benefits and should not be overlooked. Just because there is no benefit to stretch out prior to your workout it should not be thrown out completely. I love stretching and it has become more ingrained within my training more than ever as I work towards lengthening my joints and muscles due to


previous injury and requiring more mobility in specific areas for my training.


For example, i'm having to increase the range my wrists can move into right now so I can perform a free standing handstand. Without improved range I am running the risk of injury from a non mobile wrist... I'm also needing to stretch my hips and ankles due to a recent knee injury. My knee was injured in a football match and since I have found limitation at the bottom of a squat so stretching out my hips and ankles has been beneficial in improving pain symptoms and increasing my en


d range :)


Other times you may need to stretch if you have joint stiffness or soreness that may need correcting - always ensure you keep in touch with an allied health professional if you are undertaking any new exercise bout without guidance!


Remember, don't always listen to the information out th


ere and stay informed. I'm always going to try keep you informed through this evidence based blog :)


Stay tuned and send me a DM on instagram @dynamicrecov for any tips or blogs you want written!!


B


Read on below for some info on how stretching pre exer


cise doesn't reduce injury risk :)


Shrier, Ian MD PhD. Stretching Before Exercise Does Not Reduce the Risk of Local Muscle Injury: A Critical Review of the Clinical and Basic Science Literature. Clinical Journal of Sport Medicine 9(4):p 221-227, October 1999.


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